Review: ‘The Lady is Back’

Whatever style lies just beyond over-the-top, "The Lady Is Back" explores it to the hilt. Lavishly art-directed tale of revenge orchestrated by a once pure-hearted innocent who returns in triumph to the town where she was abused is a telling role for buxom Latino screen legend Isabel Sarli, now 68. Confident in its constant excess, pic may wear out its welcome with conventional auds, but provides an ironic, frequently outlandish forum for many unflattering observations about the evolution of Argentine society. Although Sarli --- a sort of Betty Page meets Mae West by way of Elizabeth Taylor --- is not nearly as well endowed in the acting department as she is in decolletage, her sheer iconographic oomph carries the pic. This marks her 30th film since the late '50s --- with time out during the dictatorship years --- and the title refers as much to Sarli as it does to the character she plays. Well-known throughout Latin America and to a lesser degree in Spain, Sarli exposes her nearly septuagenarian knockers with aplomb.

Pic moves from one flamboyant set piece to another, bouncing between past and present. Peppy lyrics provide a Greek chorus-style commentary as Aurora (Sarli) arrives in her humble hometown with a lavish menagerie in tow. Although she has come to rescue the mayor from a financial scandal involving industrial quantities of pig excrement, she also intends to humiliate every last citizen who took advantage of her as a virginal lass.

Flashbacks reveal she was forced to leave her parents’ home, was taken in by a lascivious pastor who raped her, and was abused at a girl’s school but got out of town, studied nursing and found employment with a cultured wheelchair-bound senator who left her his massive fortune in thanks for a rekindled libido.

Film indicts contemporary Argentina as a nation where money is seen as a cure-all and guiding principle. Nobody is honorable, everyone can be bought.

Pic looks as if Federico Fellini and Ken Russell had worked with Siegfried & Roy in Las Vegas. A densely arrayed supporting cast of barnyard animals, transsexuals, bodybuilders and transvestites keep things visually lively. Garish colors and lighting abound. The musical score is awash with irony and mockery, and tech aspects all help elevate bad taste to a very refined pedestal.

The Lady is Back

Argentine

Production

An Instituto Nacional de Cine & Artes Audiovisuales/Aleph Prods. production. Produced by Fernando Sokolowicz, Carlos Gorosito. Directed by Jorge Polaco. Screenplay, Rodolfo Hermida, based on a screen story by Polaco, Humberto Ceferino Rivas.

Crew

Camera (color), Carlos Ferro, Esteban Sapir; editor, Rodolfo Hermida; music, Sergio Vanikoff, Marcelo Boccanera; production design, Ben Waisman; costume design, Horace Lannes, Haydee Zaragoza; sound, Carlos Caleca, Antonio Gonzalez. Reviewed at Amiens Film Festival (competing), France, Nov. 9, 1996. Running time: 101 MIN.

With

Isabel Sarli, Edgardo Nieva, Juan Pablo Alem, Guadalupe Largeaud, Golde Flami, Ariel Bonomi, Susana Cortinez, Adelco Lanza, Nestor Romano.
Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 0

Leave a Reply

No Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More Film News from Variety

Loading